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Rival watch: Barcelona rocked by two more injuries ahead of El Clasico vs Real Madrid



Photo by Aitor Alcalde/Getty Images

In less than two weeks, Barcelona and Real Madrid will tangle again in the fifth El Clasico of the 2022/23 season as the two rivals battle it out for a spot in the finals of the Copa del Rey.

The first leg of the cup semi-final, played at the Santiago Bernabeu earlier this month, ended in a 1-0 win for Barça. Following that, they beat Carlo Ancelotti’s men 2-1 in La Liga to open up a 12-point lead in the table.

So, the next Clasico is a must-win game for Real Madrid as they will look for a modicum of revenge while keeping their hopes of a cup triumph alive.

Ahead of the game, Real Madrid have received a boost as two more Barcelona players are set to miss the cup Clasico at Camp Nou on April 5.

Only recently, it was confirmed that both Ousmane Dembele and Pedri were ruled out of the contest.

Now, it has been confirmed that Andreas Christensen is also set to be unavailable for the match while Frenkie de Jong is also a major doubt, reports AS.

Christensen picked up a calf injury while on international duty with Denmark last night. The 26-year-old defender is expected to be out of action for three to four weeks, effectively ruling him out of the contest against Real Madrid.

As for De Jong, Barcelona officially confirmed earlier today that the Dutchman has sustained a thigh injury. Reports suggest that the 25-year-old could be out for close to two weeks, making his availability for El Clasico a big question mark.

Christensen is a key cog in the defensive setup for Xavi’s Barcelona and his absence will come as a blow. With no De Jong and Pedri, the Catalans’ midfield will be weakened considerably.

It must be noted that Barça got the better of Real Madrid in both the Clasico matches earlier this month without Pedri and Dembele. And the onus will be on Ancelotti & co. to make the most of their opponents’ injury woes and come out on top at Camp Nou next month.

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Real Madrid News

Ancelotti talks Benzema, Kane, Fran Garcia, Ceballos ahead of Real Madrid vs Athletic Club



Photo by Florencia Tan Jun/Getty Images

Real Madrid manager Carlo Ancelotti has said that club captain Karim Benzema is ready to play his side’s last league game against Athletic Club while also citing that one must not forget that the Frenchman still has one more year left on his current deal.

Speaking ahead of Madrid’s final game of the 2022/23 season, the manager spoke on several aspects, including the team’s transfer plans, Benzema’s future and his own continuity.

When asked about Benzema, the manager said (h/t SPORT), “Benzema is ready to play tomorrow, he’s recovered.” He went on to add, “I agree with Benzema. Internet is not the reality. He has another year on his contract. I think it’s clear.”

At the same time, he subsequently admitted that Benzema is mostly on his way out. “The legends of this club have to retire at Real Madrid. This is what I believe and what the club believes. But the player maybe doesn’t think the same.”

In terms of the squad for the upcoming game, he mentioned, “We want to say goodbye to our fans. They’re all ready to play. Only Mariano won’t be there, the others are fine. We want to finish in the best possible way. Then we’ll rest and prepare for next season.”

Meanwhile, Benzema’s potential departure would mean Madrid will look to sign a new number 9. In this regard, Tottenham Hotspur striker Harry Kane is said to be on the list and while addressing the same, the Italian said,

“Harry Kane? I’m sure you all are curious to see what will happen next season. But Kane is a Tottenham player and we have to respect this.”

He went on to add, “I think we’re going to have a different squad [next season]. There are players whose contracts are running out, but it will be a competitive squad and one that makes me very excited.”

Furthermore, the manager also confirmed that he will be at Real Madrid next season. “I’m happy at Real Madrid. No problems with the club. I’m very happy to continue and we will try to do better next season.”

Madrid’s main man also went on to admit that he cannot make everyone in the squad happy. 

“It is true that some have had little prominence, but I have tried to keep all the players motivated. It is impossible to keep them all happy. Sometimes you have to put up with that discontent from the players. I feel that there are some who have played very little.”

Speaking about the plan for the next season, he added, “Next year’s squad will be very competitive. Obviously there are contracts that expire and there will be different players. But it will be competitive.”

“Yes, it’s true — Fran García will be our first signing,” Ancelotti confirmed, but refused to talk about Brahim Diaz’s potential arrival.

“Brahim Díaz? I can’t say anything on him right now, I can’t comment…”.

He also revealed that the likes of Nacho and Dani Ceballos will decide their own fate. “They know what we think of them. I think they have everything very clear. They are waiting for the end of the season to decide what they want to do. Everything is in their hands.”

When asked about Brahim Diaz, he simply said, “I can’t talk about him right now.”

Lastly, when asked how much would he rate the 2022/23 season, he said, “It’s difficult to rate yourself. What I can say is that it’s been a very long season. We’ve worked hard and sometimes I haven’t always been able to transmit a very high level of motivation. 

“It’s not It’s easy to motivate every three days. I’ve given everything I could give. I put myself on a positive note, but next year I’m going to do better,” he concluded.

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